September 21, 2009
Game balls: Utah
The game against Utah was one that really should have been a win going away for the Ducks. The score really should have been more like 38-13 but Oregon mistakes kept Utah in the game. The defense did their job and they did it in a big way on Saturday. The offense had a couple bright spots as the offensive line showed improvement and LaMichael James had a break out game for the Ducks.
For this week's game balls, the offense was the easy part with James being the lone bright spot. The defense was another story as a group of players were all deserving of the award. Similar to the offense and the defense, special teams found a way to be special, but they also made a couple huge mistakes that came back to bite them. Those mistakes will need to be taken care of this week as the red hot Cal Bears roll into Autzen Stadium next week in what looks like a huge game that should have an impact on the PAC-10 title race.
Giving out game balls is always difficult because you don't want to look past certain players for their efforts but you have to choose one from each unit and this is what we have decided.
Offense LaMichael James: It has to be LaMichael James. The redshirt freshman had the breakout game that he and many others have been waiting for. In rushing for 156 yards on 27 carries, LaMichael may have solidified himself as the number one running back for the foreseeable future. His quick feet and his moves were on full display in addition to his non-stop legs. In spite of his size, James gives defenders fits by running through leg tackles and never stops moving his feet or his legs. He had some impressive short yardage runs that showed a lot of toughness for a "lightning back." Speaking of lightening, LaMichael James has a very bright future ahead of him and luckily for Duck fans, players and coaches, his career is just getting started. Once the passing game opens up, expect to see a lot of explosion plays and long runs out of James.
Honorable Mention: Offensive Line
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